12 January 2007

State of the world

Chairman Bruce Sterling's annual State of the World address is a hoary old tradition by web standards; so old school that he publishes it on the Well. The Chairman combines breadth of vision, his SF sensibilities, and snark.
Russia was the winner of the War for Oil, so they've learned how to turn off the gas taps and wax all petrocratic. Unfortunately they're run by a tiny Czarist-style clique of spooky Rasputin radioactive poison fanatics, so when their shadow crosses the global landscape everybody crosses their fingers and shies away. Luckily, a surprising number of guys they managed to poison, ambush and shoot were Chechen warlords, so their personal Islamic crisis is on the back burner.
I think there were two polities in 2006 who really managed to play their cards right: India and China. If you were Indian or Chinese, 2006 felt like solid progress and you'd love more of the same. Given that the two of them are a major chunk of the planet's population, 2006 wasn't that bad a year. The least-reported major story of the year was probably that China and India seriously and thoughtfully decided to make nice with each other. I think they looked at their global shipping figures and they figured out that they are no longer regional rivals. A "region" doesn't matter worth a damn any more. Their ambitions are global, and it makes a lot more great-power sense to tackle the world shoulder-to-shoulder than it does to try to divvy up Asia.
It's long and fun.

No comments: